Mick Simpson – The Slow Blues Sessions
Mad Ears Productions
11 songs time – 57:57
Brit guitarist singer-songwriter Mick Simpson has been putting in his dues over a career spanning more than forty years as an in-demand session man and solo artist. Once you give this recording a listen you will more than understand why. Not only is he a gifted guitar master, but he is also a fine singer and songwriter as well. The tone he achieves in his playing is quite an astonishing thing. His expressive vocals go hand-in-hand as an extension of his guitar notes. The able-bodied band assembled here gives steady support and enhancement. Keyboard and bass player Andy Littlewood doubles as producer and engineer. Pete Nelson handles the drum seat. The MEP Collective contributes horns. The album is a collection of songs from his recordings of the last twelve years along with one as one new one.
No need to comment on varying tempos in the songs, as this is The Slow Blues Sessions. All songs are composed by different configurations of Simpson and Littlewood. Mick’s plaintive vocal style is well represented on tracks like “Love Me Tonight”, You Gotta Change” and “When The Sun Goes Down”, among others. The guitar playing throughout is an air-piercing thing of auditory beauty. He combines acoustic and electric guitars in the lovely and deliberate “Shelter From The Storm”.
On the majestic instrumental “A Father’s Son” Mick’s guitar sounds as if it is soaring towards the heavens. The closest comparison would be to Jeff Beck. The other instrumental is in a similar vain, perhaps a little more austere. The guitar tone he uses on these songs is truly magnificent. The acoustic piano frames the song nicely.
A mournful atmosphere is attained on “Unfinished Business” as the guitar competes with piano and organ swirls. B.B. King like guitar inhabits the blues of “Somewhere Down The Line”. More B.B. King guitar on “Sweet Lorraine”. It also includes organ, trumpet and strings. Mick delivers a heartfelt yearning vocal on this one. A Jeff Beck-like intro leads into “Drowning In My Tears” with strings once again. Strings are found on six of the songs. A bit difficult to tell if they are real or synth generated as there is no mention of strings in the liner notes. Promises broken is the theme of “Promised The Earth” that features nice melodic guitar as usual.
Mick Simpson delivers a cohesive melding of poignant songs, poignant vocalizing and tantalizing guitar. His well-versed band ties it all together. It always puzzles me that someone of this caliber isn’t more widely known. If there is any fairness left in this world, music lovers would buy this gem by the droves.
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